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Dell XPS 17 2020 takes on MacBook Pro with smallest 17-inch design ever

Dell XPS 17 2020
(Image credit: Dell)

The Dell XPS 17 2020 has just been revealed, showcasing a powerful 17-inch laptop clad in Dell's now familiar and slick design. 

While the Dell XPS 13 represents one of the best ultraportables around and the Dell XPS 15 2020 is pretty much a do-all machine, the Dell XPS 17 2020 has the design and specs to make it appeal to content creators and power users alike. And it presents a strong new rival to Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro

As such, this new XPS machine could be one of the most interesting and compelling laptops Dell has made over the past few years. Here's everything you need to know about the new Dell XPS 17 2020.  

Dell XPS 17 2020 release date 

The release date for the Dell XPS 17 2020 has yet to be fully finalised, but Dell has said it will be released in Summer 2020. That means the machine could be released somewhere between June and August. 

As the Dell XPS 15 2020 is coming out May 13, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the XPS 17 arrive in June, giving the smaller laptop a bit of time in the limelight before its larger sibling enters the stage. 

 Dell XPS 17 2020 price 

Dell XPS 17 2020

(Image credit: Dell)

Given the Dell XPS 17 2020 is effectively Dell’s new flagship laptop, it carries the highest entry price of all the XPS laptops. It will start at $1,499, and that price will likely go up as far as $4,000, though Dell hasn’t fully revealed the XPS 17 pricing tiers. 

While the XPS 17 won’t be cheap, it’s still considerably less expensive than the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which starts at $2,399. 

Dell XPS 17 2020 specs 

Entry-levelHigh-spec
Price$1,499.99TBC
CPU4.5Ghz quad-core Core i5-10300H, 5GHz six-core Core i7-10750H 5.1GHz octa-core Core i7-10875H, 5.3GHz octa-core Core i9-10885H
RAM8GB, 16GB32GB, 64GB
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB1TB, 2TB
GraphicsIntel UHD, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
Battery life20 hours with 56Whr battery97Whr
Display17-inch InfinityEdge, 1920 x 1080, non-touch17-inch InfinityEdge, 4K, touch-enabled
Ports3 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, SD Card, 3.5mm audio3 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, SD Card, 3.5mm audio
Size0.77 x 14.74 x 9.76 inches0.77 x 14.74 x 9.76 inches
Weight4.65 pounds5.53 pounds

The Dell XPS 17 2020 gets the full Intel 10th-generation Comet Lake treatment. The processor lineup starts with the Core i5-10300H offering a quad-core CPU running up to 4.5GHz, then jumps up to the six-core Core i7-10750H that runs at 5GHz. That’s followed by the 5.1GHz eight-core Core i7-10875H. Finally, the XPS 17 tops out with the Core i9-10885H, an octa-core CPU that runs up to 5.3GHz.  

Memory starts at 8GB of DDR4 dual-channel SDRAM running at 2933MHz, and tops out at a massive 64GB. And storage runs from a rather basic 256GB of PCIe storage and goes all the way up to 2TB of SSD space. 

Graphics start with the integrated Intel UHD GPU found in the Coffee Lake processors, but there are options for an Nvidia GeForce 1650 Ti with 4GB of GDDR6 or a more powerful GeForce RTX 2060 with 6GB of GDDR6 memory. The latter graphics card is a particularly powerful one, not only able to run games at high settings and 60 frames per second, but also chew through video rendering tasks. 

These specs options mean the Dell XPS 17 2020 starts as a decent if not exceptionally powerful laptop. But with the graphics card options, especially the GeForce RTX 2060, the XPS 17 becomes a proper powerhouse of a laptop capable of demanding photo and video editing work, as well as triple-A gaming. 

 Dell XPS 17 2020 display 

Dell XPS 17 2020

(Image credit: Dell)

Two display options are on offer with the Dell XPS 17 2020, both using Dell’s InfinityEdge panels. These screens boast a 93.7% screen-to-body ratio and allow the XPS 17 to be the smallest 17-inch laptops in the world, according to Dell.

The first display option is a non-touch 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS panel that offers 500-nits of brightness, a 1600:1 contrast ratio, and covers 100% of the sRGB color gamut. The second display option is the one many content creators will want to go for, as it offers a touchscreen panel with 4K resolution and support for HDR 400. It also delivers 100% Adobe RGB coverage as well as 94% DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage.

One neat thing about the display is the minimal top bezel holds a small 720p webcam that has the sensor tech needed for Windows Hello facial unlocking. Speaking of Windows Hello, there’s also a compatible fingerprint scanner built into the power button.  

 Dell XPS 17 2020 design 

Measuring 0.77 x 14.74 x 9.76 inches and starting at 4.65 pounds, the Dell XPS 17 2020 is effectively a larger and heavier XPS 15. It retains the sharp slim wedge-like design of previous XPS machines but has an expansive keyboard and trackpad.

Machined aluminium and the use of carbon fibre composite palm rest should make the XPS 17 as good to type on as previous XPS machines, especially as it still offers a solid 1.3mm of key travel. And the speakers either side of the keyboard promise impressive audio capabilities as they form part of a quad-speaker setup that has Waves Nx®3D audio for more immersive audio. 

Dell XPS 17 2020 ports and connectivity 

Dell XPS 15 2020

(Image credit: Dell)

Much like the XPS 15, the Dell XPS 17 2020  is fully embracing USC-C connectivity, sporting four USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 compatibility featuring power delivery and DisplayPort capabilities. Despite the larger footprint of the XPS 17, there’s no USB Type-A port, though Dell provides a USB-C to USB Type-A 3.0 and HDMI 2.0 dongle in the box.  

Audio connectivity is still provided by a 3.5mm headphone jack, and people who make heavy use of DSLR cameras will be pleased to see a full-sized SD card reader on the Dell XPS 17. 

Other connectivity comes in the form of a Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 wireless card and Bluetooth 5.0, which is now fairly standard in most modern laptops. 

Dell XPS 17 2020 battery life 

The Dell XPS 17 2020 has two battery options: the FHD+ model has a 56Whr battery, while the 4K panel models use a 97Whr battery. 

Dell claims the FHD+ model will deliver 20 hours worth of battery life, though it didn’t mention how long it expects the touch-enabled 4K models to last for. We suspect that the more powerful specification of those machines will see the claimed battery life drop to somewhere around the 15 hours mark, if the machine is used in the same way Dell tested the FHD+ model. 

In real-world use, we’d expect the XPS 17’s battery to last a good working day, provided they aren’t being used in intensive tasks such as video encoding or gaming. 

Dell XPS 17 2020 outlook 

There aren’t a whole lot of large-screened laptops that are both powerful and portable. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is one such machine but it doesn’t really have many Windows 10 equivalents. So there’s certainly a gap in the market for the Dell XPS 17 2020. 

It’s shaping up to be a larger and more powerful take on the established and critically acclaimed XPS format. The XPS 17 could be just the machine creative professionals and people after a powerful machine that doesn’t come clad in ostentatious ’gaming laptop’ design could be looking for. 

Getting one of the more powerful specifications certainly won't be cheap, but a well-specced XPS 17 could be all the machine anyone needs. We’ll need to put the Dell XPS 17 2020 through its paces before we can tell you if it’s worth the money, but so far all signs point towards it being an impressive addition to the well-established XPS range.